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  1. Alex is quickly becoming the star of this season. Street savvy, just the right amount of New York attitude, and being very, very good at her job. Her history makes her even more compelling. Yeah, I think the producers are caught in a bind in that regard. They have to make the show accessible to regular folks--people who watch the show for touching personal moments and not war stories. You've got to convince "normals" that you can't ignore that shooting pain down your left arm, and you really ought to go for a ride when the 'medic says "go." What irks me is the shocking over-dramatization of every potentially tragic outcome on every call, and here's why you need to get to the ER stat. Maybe it's a liability/CYA thing? What's really missing from this show (and I can absolutely understand why) is the sense of humor many of these guys and gals have. "Dark" doesn't even begin to describe it. And I'm not referring to funny acronyms like CTD (circling the drain) or the PT being transferred to the Eternal Care Unit, GOMERs and FLKs. I'm talking about the way to stay sane after two doubles on a full moon weekend after the state benefits checks come out.
  2. All Episodes Talk

    Just watched "End of the Road" and it was one of the best First 48 episodes they've ever done. A stone-cold case (from a previous episode none the less) that ended That's how you conduct an interview. The new guy is one of the best investigators I've seen profiled on this show in a while.
  3. S03.E19: If We Were Normal

    You stop it by transferring one of the partners to a different point of duty (firehouse, police station, etc). If the parties involved understand why and are good with it, then that's ideal. If one or both of them raise a stink then you know you have unprofessional people in critical positions of safety and that needs to be addressed swiftly. If TV show writers can't get that right, the show will be flawed from the beginning. You can do a firehouse or One Chicago ensemble-type universe without violating this rule. Pair up a FF with cop or someone in HQ, or another house/company. All legit and you still have decent drama. FFs will always be interacting with PD, EMS and hospital staff, so why not just have the relationships that way. Heck, when I was a teenager I was always hoping Johnny would get it on with Dixie McCall (and then Bracket would blow an aneurysm as a result). Any chief or squad leader that would let two FFs or patrol or detective squad officers work together and who are boinking off (and occasionally on) the clock is probably not the best leader.
  4. S03.E19: If We Were Normal

    In public safety jobs the stakes are much higher. If you and your office dating colleague have a falling out your department might be in chaos but lives probably aren't in jeopardy. If dating firefighters or cops are working together (same company or same division/etc), and one gets hurt at an incident, who will the other be more concerned about? Will you put your assignment at risk of death or injury to go help your spouse/partner? That's the thinking, and I subscribe to it. Or if the relationship falls apart, the whole house/etc could get toxic until one is transferred. That's a set of distractions nobody needs. X cheated on Y. Will Y's colleagues from the same house maybe react differently on a job? Or be a step behind?
  5. What gets me is just how insanely faked everything is. What most viewers don't realize is that the participants have to be mic'd up. There are makeup artists in the bathrooms where Gordon goes from Shlub to Chef, a camera operator (and probably a sound man), and TV-quality lighting. There is nothing spontaneous. Even if the customers/staff don't know this is a Ramsay setup, they know when the cameras are rolling and when to turn in to trained seals on cue. And of course everybody knows who Gordon Ramsay is. Really? What about someone who doesn't own a TV? I've never heard one person say "what do you mean, stop eating. Who the f@#$ are you?" And of course, none of the diners' or other secondary/tertiary staff members' faces are blurred, meaning every single person in there signed away their soul for 15 minutes of fame a release form. It was obvious Sandra didn't want any part of this from the beginning, so it begs the question, who contacted Production and signed the contracts to appear? Someone must have known it was Gordon Effin' Ramsay and not just a makeover show. As for the food...holy crap. A giant pit like that and no ribs on the menu? No pulled pork? That's a crime against barbecue right there. And from startup to service, it still takes a few hours to get barbecued chicken prepped, and there was no evidence of that happening. And a propane smoker? Really?? Protip, Gordo...the best barbecue restaurants in the world never clean out their pits, or at least not all that extensively because they're in use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Grease just burns off, or goes into seasoning the pit and turning it in to something magical.
  6. S14. E18. Blood and Water

    What struck me was as the Wizard was coming in to dock, we see a view of Keith on shore, through the wheelhouse window, with a Disco camera crew filming him. That means he'd have to have notified production to say that he was coming up to Dutch to meet the boat, and that they should have a team ready for him. I'd liked Keith over the last couple of seasons, after he seemed to be a bit calmer toward staff and had come to terms of his alcohol problems and the failure of his marriage. I was hoping he'd turned a corner, but he just wasted everything in that one act. Was it played up for TV consumption? Maybe, who knows. Did he just come from a bar in town, perhaps?? In the end, he's proven to be the same old douchecanoe he always was. Sad, really. I generally like strong leaders with a strict moral compass who take no shit from anybody, don't suffer fools and don't accept excuses for failure. I learn best from the Professor Kingsfields of the world. There's some of that in Keith, but too much bad juju and rage to go along with it.
  7. Just got through Episode 6 and yeah, it's OK. I like the sight gags and there's a ton of potential, but frankly this needs to get kicked up a notch or two into solid R-rating territory. The material just begs for it, in fact. Also, I hope they're not always stuck pressing the reset button all the time. I like growing stories, not just stand-alone episodes.
  8. I was recently in Prague for a few days and there are any number of restaurants in which dogs are welcomed with their customers (or is that the other way around). The ones I patronized, the dogs were well behaved and I never saw any bad doggie (or owner) behavior, even during busy services. But I could also say the same about small children in Europe. No little yard apes running wild as I see far too often when I go out to eat here.
  9. So here's the pitstop story I wanted to share. I made reference to this in the S30E06 original thread as well. This aired just a few months before my visit to Prague and I knew I had to find this pit stop and get my picture taken there. I searched for it on Google Maps and it took quite a while to find using Street View. So I bookmarked the location and set out on a very warm and humid Sunday morning in June. The racers would have been coming from the Kafka telephone nightmare Road Block, so I approached Letenské Park, where the pitstop was located, from the point of view of a racer who was only told that the pit stop was in the park (which is utterly huge, and about the size of New York's Central Park, incidentally). If they went on foot, it would have been about 3/4 of a mile hike to the entrance of the park. But here's where the fun begins. If they weren't told specifically in the clue (there are often parts of clues that aren't read on camera, so I just don't know), they'd most likely have entered the park at the main staircase. It's a LONG way up. About 500 feet due up, in fact. There was also a shortcut, and it was even steeper. Carrying backpacks, and in a panic to not be eliminated. It took my fat old self about 10 minutes to make the climb, wander around a bit and find the marked spot. The mat location was actually in the dirt, between the curbstones and the vegetation; I just liked this view of the city better. It was a brutal climb for a big guy like me and all I had was a small messenger-style bag, water bottle and a hat (not in the picture). Just getting here and making that climb was tough, and a vivid reminder of why I'd never be able to complete even a single leg on the Amazing Show. Only instead of a Kafkaesque phone room to deal with, I had an equally Kafkaesque (and ultimately futile) search for a place to buy a daily tram pass using folding money and not coins, which is the only way you can buy tickets from the machines. Not even the metro stations have attendants on Sunday mornings!
  10. I, too, have been O'er the Sea to Skye, in 2005. Driving up from Glasgow in a day. Long before I found Outlander, of course. When I go back in 2020, I'll be going to Edinburugh, Culloden and Inverness, then on to Islay. My liver may or may not follow me home, begging for its life. I didn't get to any TAR landmarks in Helsinki, alas, although I was thinking about it. If they ever go back there and go to Suomenlinna fortress (it would be a fantistic locale), the Esplanade, ride the Pub tram or go to the most northerly metro station in the world I'll have 'em covered :) We did, however, take the Tallink ferry to Tallinn and visit the Brotherhood of the Blackheads building (below) from Season 15, Leg 9.
  11. Here are a couple of mine that I can find the pictures of. The first two are Season 17 Episode 7 (Naryshkin Bastion at St. Peter and Paul Fortress, SPb, Russia), Hotel Stechelburg near Lauterbrunen, Switzerland in S14 Episode 1, Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg, and the last one is the Catherine Palace Season 5, leg 4. I've also been in the park behind St. Isaacs in St. Petersburg for S17E06 but couldn't find the precise spot where the mat was located, and also, locally, Gotham Hall in Manhattan (Season 21 final mat) and the Unisphere in Queens (Season 1 final).
  12. Oh, I loved that challenge and that spot looked, well, Amazing. I wish they'd go to the U.K. more often. Especially Scotland. Whisky-related tasks on Islay, for example!
  13. TAR31 Anticipation Thread

    It's possible to cast Everyman teams and make them enjoyable, but it's a very fine line, and in the runup to production, the producers have to make sure they've assembled teams who aren't cringeworthy to watch due to their ineptness. It's been said that TAR is either one of, or the most expensive unscripted show ever made. 22 racers, 11 (or more) camera operators, 11 (or more) sound operators, production assistants, lighting and A/V techs, medics, logistics people, and one famous and very expensive host all moving in sync around the world, once or twice a year. If Neilsen audiences tune out because painful-to-watch teams are being featured, well, ratings is how TAR lives or dies. So I get that they need telegenic teams, and preferably ones that viewers have seen on other CBS-branded shows. I don't like it, but I understand it. Me personally, I'd get along well with smart and well-traveled people, athletes or not, but yeah, the whole "exposure for their brand" crap is nauseating. I really detested the YouTube Famewhores characters, but I don't watch it for the people; I watch TAR for the places and the tasks. If the decent people can eke out a win over the douchecanoes all the better, of course. But the best way to "advance the plot" as I'd call it in a scripted series is to weed out the "I'm afraid of <x>" types in casting. We're about to be 31 seasons in, and they still get people auditioning who are afraid of heights, are claustrophobic, can't drive stick and who retch at the thought of eating bugs. I'm over it. I love to see when a team knows the local language and uses it to their advantage, or is worldly enough to know that when you arrive in Amsterdam at rush hour, you're nuts to take a cab into the center of town (train is much faster!). I enjoy seeing people succeeding at tasks that I could never, ever dream of accomplishing in locales that I'd give body parts to visit someday.
  14. In your travels have you ever found yourself in places that were used for TAR pit stops or other locations featured on the show? Years before I started watching The Amazing Race, I happened to visit the Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg, Austria. When I watched Season 14, leg 2 a few years later I saw that was the pit stop, and it sparked an interest in visiting these whenever I'm on vacation. I've subsequently visited about a dozen (I will chronicle my search for S30E06's in Prague in a separate message) and I'm wondering who else here has visited various pit stops and locations made famous by the show. Photos if you got 'em!
  15. TAR31 Anticipation Thread

    I miss those days, but to be honest, it can go a little too far. TAR Australia, Season 1 was mostly that and good ghods, they were dull as dishwater. Every season of the Mothership show, until a couple of years ago, had some version of "wacky cannon fodder" teams as well and more often than not I just wanted them off my TV. I'd also like to see teams of people who are die-hard fans of the show, who are intelligent, physically fit, multi-lingual, able to drive stick, not afraid of heights, able to eat utterly awful things that make us mere mortals gag, already well traveled, and where the actual competition is featured more than the drahhhhhhhhma. Where U-turning—and being U-turned—is understood as being necessary to succeed, and isn't taken personally. Maybe spend a bit of time in the U.S. as well? I'm sure there are some locales that could use the promotion and that feature world-class sights that would appeal to us armchair travelers.